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Brennan Center’s Myrna Pérez Confirmed to Federal Bench

The Senate has confirmed the voting rights advocate to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Published: October 25, 2021
Myrna Perez
Myrna Pérez testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during her nomination hearing to be a federal appeals court judge. (AP)

The Senate today confirmed Myrna Pérez as a circuit judge to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Pérez will be the first Latina to sit on the Second Circuit since Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. She is the first prominent voting rights attorney to join a federal appeals court since Thurgood Marshall more than half a century ago.  

Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice, had this reaction to Pérez’s confirmation:

“We are extraordinarily proud of our colleague Myrna Pérez. She is brilliant, passionate, and committed to equal justice for all. She has been a leader in the great national movement to defend our democracy, and a cherished leader at the Brennan Center. Now she will have a solemn opportunity to serve and uphold the Constitution and equal justice under law.

“For 15 years at the Brennan Center, she has fought for voting rights, most recently leading our Voting Rights and Elections Program. During that time she has won protections for the right to vote for hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens, documented misguided policies that make it harder for too many to vote, and persuaded states across the country to enact automatic voter registration, a breakthrough innovative reform.

“As citizens we will be fortunate to have her service on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. For the Brennan Center as an organization, we regard this as a reminder of the importance of our work on behalf of democracy and the Constitution — and our commitment to carrying on Myrna’s work and her commitment to rigor and excellence. She’s built something. And for so many of us here, we are thrilled for our friend.”

During her 15 years at the Brennan Center, Pérez’s pathbreaking work included: 

  • Authoring a major report exposing the phenomenon of abusive voter purges in 2008 and a 2018 report showing that after the Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court decision, voter purges soared in the jurisdictions previously covered by the Voting Rights Act.
  • The successful lawsuit that blocked the harsh voter identification law in Texas, including a victory at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (Veasey v. Abbott). The original Texas law, a federal trial court ruled, required documentation lacked by 608,000 registered voters.
  • National leadership on behalf of automatic voter registration (AVR), an innovative reform now in place in 17 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Working as legal counsel with voting rights advocates in Florida who successfully worked to pass Amendment 4, which restored the right to vote for 1.4 million formerly incarcerated citizens in Florida. (Gov. Ron DeSantis later signed a law to once again deprive many of those citizens the right to vote; the Brennan Center, with allies, has challenged that in court.)

As the director of the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Elections Program (currently on leave), Pérez led a team of attorneys, social scientists, researchers, organizers, and administrative staff. 

Pérez’s full biography is here